The Fourth Department, reversing Supreme Court’s denial of suppression and dismissing the indictment, determined the People did not meet their burden of going forward at the suppression hearing by demonstrating the legality of the police conduct. The traffic stop was justified by a DMV check showing the insurance of defendant’s vehicle had lapsed. In support of defendant’s motion to suppress, defendant presented a verification of insurance form demonstrating coverage had not lapsed. At that point the presumption that the DMV check was accurate disappeared and the People were required to demonstrate the information relied upon by the police was accurate. The People failed to so demonstrate:
… [D]efendant’s submission of the verification of insurance form in support of his supplemental motion was sufficient to challenge the presumed reliability of the information obtained by the officer that the vehicle’s registration was suspended due to an insurance lapse … . It was therefore incumbent upon the People to submit proof at the suppression hearing in addition to the officer’s testimony to establish the reliability of the information received by the officer, and the People failed to meet that burden … . People v Walker, 2023 NY Slip Op 05902, Fourth Dept 11-17-23
Practice Point: At a suppression hearing the People must first demonstrate the police conduct was legal. Here the traffic stop was based on a DMV check showing an insurance lapse. Defendant presented proof the insurance had not lapsed. At that point the presumption the DMV check was reliable disappeared and the People were required to show the DMV check was in fact reliable, which they failed to do. Suppression should have been granted.